Rauschenberg Erases De Kooning

In 1953, Willem De Koon­ing was one of the world’s most revered liv­ing painters, and Robert Rauschen­berg was a tal­ent­ed ris­ing star, just a year out of art school. In this clip, Rauschen­berg tells of how, armed with noth­ing but chutz­pah and a bot­tle of Jack Daniels, he knocked on De Koon­ing’s door and flat-out asked the mas­ter for an orig­i­nal draw­ing — so he could erase it. De Koon­ing not only acqui­esced, but even chose a draw­ing he par­tic­u­lar­ly liked. Though it was con­tro­ver­sial at the time, Erased De Koon­ing is now con­sid­ered a con­cep­tu­al art clas­sic. And its influ­ence endures: Last year a stu­dent at Brown out-Rauschen­berg’d Rauschen­berg by eras­ing De Koon­ing’s wikipedia entry.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

MoMA Puts Pol­lock, Rothko & de Koon­ing on Your iPad

The MoMA Teach­es You How to Paint Like Pol­lock, Rothko, de Koon­ing & Oth­er Abstract Painters

How the CIA Secret­ly Fund­ed Abstract Expres­sion­ism Dur­ing the Cold War

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.